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Jags search for emergency keeper ends in success

By Gavin Musgrove

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Keeper Ryan Hunter in the thick of the action whilst playing for Clach against Brora. Picture: Gary Anthony.
Keeper Ryan Hunter in the thick of the action whilst playing for Clach against Brora. Picture: Gary Anthony.

The Jags new emergency keeper ex-Fort number one Ryan Hunter will make his debut at home to Clach on Monday should the game beat the weather.

Thistle have secured the services of Hunter as a trialist to see them through the next month with Mike MacCallum sidelined with a broken finger and Robert Donaldson serving a one-game ban.

Donaldson was sent off last time in the 1-0 defeat away to Wick Academy just after half-time and was due to sit out Saturday’s game at home to Forres Mechanics only for it to be called off late on.

A frozen pitch at Seafield Park meant that Hunter was unable to make his debut, but it has given the keeper the chance to train with his new team-mates.

Jags boss Charlie Brown said: “Ryan is going to be involved against Clach. He will stay with the club until Michael is back, which is not likely to be for another month at least.

“It has been a bit of a worry when we only have one goalkeeper we can call on.”

Twenty-four-year old Hunter was the starting keeper for Fort William at the start of the season but has since departed Claggan Park.

Brown said: “He was not enjoying his football so much at Fort William. He works in Inverness and he was finding it difficult going back for training.

“He wants to stay in Inverness and was released by the club. So we got in touch with him and he is looking forward to playing for us.

“Ryan has been training with us and he looks a decent keeper. He’s a good talker and organiser and he has fitted in well and we are looking forward to working with him.”

Hunter will appear as a trialist for the Jags.

Brown said: “He can play five games for us in this capacity which will give us the opportunity to have a good look at him before making any final decision.”

MacCallum is not requiring an operation on his broken finger and therefore will not be sidelined for three months as initially feared.

The Jags now have a run of games in the bottom half of the table with the teams around them.

Brown said: “These are the games we have been looking forward to. We knew that we were not expected to get much from the top teams and we wanted to use these games to get the players standards up.

“If we had managed to get something from these games then that would have been great, but the next five games are a chance to pick up some points and move away from the bottom end of the table.”

The Jags start the run hosting Clach this Monday (December 27) but the game is already in doubt.

Brown said: “The pitch is not much better than on Saturday and the forecast is pretty much for the weather to remain freezing over the Christmas period.

“So I think we will be touch and go for Monday as well.

“As it is Clach we will be able to leave the call on the game until as late as possible to give the game every chance of being played.”

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